Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jesus' Model Prayer: The Third Petition

In this post I am continuing a series on the Lord's Prayer. What follows are my teaching notes on the text in Matthew. I hope the blog's readers will find it helpful.

Introduction: Quote: George W. Truett once taught that, “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge! To do the will of God is the greatest achievement!” (Quoted in “Toolkit,” Cell Church, Winter, 1996, p. 10 [Bible.org]).

I would add to Truett's observation one of my own, namely that to pray for the will of God is, perhaps, the greatest prayer. Now, we have seen in earlier messages that one cannot pray “hallowed be Your name” without also praying “your kingdom come,” because God's name is hallowed where He is honored as King. But neither can one pray “Your kingdom come” without also praying “Your will be done,” because God is not honored as King where His will is not obeyed. And it this third petition – “Your will be done” – that will be the focus of our attention here.

NKJ Matthew 6:10b “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

When we pray this prayer, we are basically asking for two things: 1) that God's will be done on earth, and 2) that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I. We are Asking that God's Will Be Done on Earth

In earlier messages we have seen that praying “hallowed be Your name” and “Your kingdom come” is praying both for the whole world and for ourselves at one and the same time. Such is true of praying “Your will be done” as well.

1) We are praying that God's will be done in the whole world.

This prayer will ultimately be answered with the coming of God's Kingdom in the future, but it is also answered as others come to know Christ and submit to Him as Lord. For example:

NKJ Romans 1:5 “Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name....”
Or, as the ESV translates this verse: “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations....”

Application: When we pray that God's will be done on earth, we are praying that people will obey Him through acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

NKJ 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For 'He has put all things under His feet.' But when He says 'all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
Application: When we pray for God's will to be done on earth, we are praying for the ultimate victory of the Lord Jesus over all His enemies. We are longing for the day when all is clearly seen to be subject to His rule.

NKJ Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Application: When we pray for God's will to be done, we are praying for the day when all will bow the knee to Jesus and acknowledge Him as Lord.

2) We are praying that God's will be done in our own lives.

Jesus is, of course, the greatest example of this:

NKJ John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.'”
Application: What about you and me? Can each of us honestly say that, just as our bodies hunger for and crave food, so we crave the will of God? For example, is the desire that God's will be done the first thing in our thoughts and in our prayers each day, or do we think of breakfast first?
NKJ Matthew 26:36-39 “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, 'Sit here while I go and pray over there.' 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.' 39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'”
Application: There may be many times when praying for God's will to be done means that we must suffer for His sake. In such cases, can we pray, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will”? What kind of difficulties face you right now in your own life? Can you pray – after asking for God to take them away – “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will”? If not, then I submit to you that you haven't yet learned to pray "Your will be done" as Jesus would have you pray it.

NKJ Hebrews 5:5-8 “So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.' 6 As He also says in another place: 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek'; 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”
Application: Are we servants greater than our Master? If He who was perfect learned obedience to the will of God by the things which He suffered, how can we think it should be any different for us?

Sadly, we may often plead with God for what we want first of all, as if we can somehow conform His will to our own. And we may often do this in order to avoid suffering. But instead of avoiding suffering, we may sometimes only delay it or make things even worse for ourselves by our refusal to accept His will ... like Jonah, who thought he could run away from God's will and ended up fish food.

Illustration: William Moses Tidwell (Pointed Illustrations [elbourne.org]):

The carriage was being driven along the road. The mother sat on the front seat and the maid, caring for the spoiled baby, on the back seat. The child began screaming for something. The mother impatiently said, “Why don't you let him have what he wants?” The nurse let him have it. What he was crying for was a wasp on the window. Then he screamed vociferously when he felt the terrible sting of the wasp. The mother then called out to ask, “What is the matter with him now?” The maid quietly replied, “He got what he wanted.” How often have we seen this! It is better to seek the will of God first.
Illustration: On the other hand, we could learn the lesson of Jesus' life, as the missionary David Livingstone seems to have done:

David Livingstone tells how he was chased up a small tree and besieged by lions. He said the tree was so small that he was barely out of reach of the lions. He said they would stand on their back feet and roar and shake the little tree, and that he could feel the hot breath of the lions as they sought him. “But,” he states, “I had a good night and felt happier and safer in that little tree besieged by lions, in the jungles of Africa, in the will of God, than I would have been out of the will of God in England.” (William Moses Tidwell, Pointed Illustrations [elbourne.org]).
I submit to you that this is the kind of attitude Jesus wants us to have when we pray to our heavenly Father “Your will be done.”
 
II. We are Asking that God's Will Be Done As It Is in Heaven

Here we must think about how God's will is done in heaven. David gives us some insight 
on the matter in a similar prayer:

NKJ Psalm 103:19-22 “The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. 21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. 22 Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!”
David wanted everyone in all the places of God's dominion to praise Him and obey Him even as the angels in heaven do. But how do the angels in heaven obey God? Perhaps one example will suffice:

NKJ Luke 2:8-14 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.' 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'”
These angels can't help but praise God when carrying out His commands! They are filled with joy at the unfolding of His plans as they see His will accomplished!

Application: Have you ever read in the Bible of one of God's holy angels in heaven disobeying him? Have you ever read about any of these angels complaining about the will of God rather than doing it immediately and with joy?

Quote: Wayne Grudem highlights this same point in his Systematic Theology (p. 404):

In both their obedience and their worship angels provide helpful examples for us to imitate. Jesus teaches us to pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). In heaven God’s will is done by angels, immediately, joyfully, and without question. We are to pray daily that our obedience and the obedience of others would be like that of the angels in heaven. Their delight is to be God’s humble servants, each faithfully and joyfully performing their assigned tasks, whether great or small. Our desire and prayer should be that we ourselves and all others on earth would do the same.
Conclusion: Jesus wants us to pray daily that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He knows that we need to align our wills with the Father's will every day, and He knows that we can best do this through prayer. What about each of us? Can we honestly say that we desire that God's will be done so earnestly that it takes precedence in our prayers even over our own needs? Does such a desire make us willing even to suffer so that His will may be done? And does such a desire show in our own immediate and joyful obedience to His will?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jesus' Model Prayer: The Second Petition

In this post I am continuing a series on the Lord's Prayer. What follows are my teaching notes on the text in Matthew. I hope the blog's readers will find it helpful.

Introduction: Illustration: Many centuries ago, and many years after God had led the Israelites into the promised land, there came a time when they decided they wanted a king like all the other nations had (1 Sam. 8:5). We are told in Scripture about the responses of both Samuel and God to this request:
NKJ 1 Samuel 8:6-8 “But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, 'Give us a king to judge us.' So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, 'Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day -- with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods -- so they are doing to you also.'”
Perhaps even more sad than the fact that they had asked for another king in the first place is the fact that – even after Samuel went back to them and told them everything God had said – they still knowingly and willfully rejected the Lord as their King!

But a Christian is not such a person, is he!? Absolutely not! Among other things, a Christian is a person who has acknowledged God as His rightful King and submitted to Him as Sovereign Lord. This is why Jesus teaches His followers to pray for His Kingdom to come. But the question that arises in my mind is, What are we asking for when we pray:

NKJ Matthew 6:10a "Your kingdom come…."

What does Jesus mean when He says that we should pray that God's kingdom would come? Obviously Jesus does not take the time to answer this question when He gives the prayer as a model for us. So it would seem best to examine other passages in which Jesus and the Apostles taught about the Kingdom in order to answer it. After all, we do want to pray this prayer with understanding, don't we?

Now, as we have seen in previous messages, the Kingdom has both a present and a future aspect. It is present now and manifested through the Church and the preaching of the Gospel, but it has not yet come in its fullness. This awaits the return of Christ and ultimately the New Heavens and the New Earth. However, it does not seem that Jesus restricts this petition to only one of these two aspects of the Kingdom. So, keeping both the present and future aspects in mind, we will examine a number of passages this morning to see if we can't get a better idea about just what we are praying for when we pray, “Your kingdom come.”
We will examine 1) a number of Biblical passages that describe the Kingdom as not yet come, and then 2) a number of passages that describe the Kingdom as having already come.

I. The Kingdom Not Yet Come

Let's consider a number of passages which speak of the Kingdom as future:

NKJ Matthew 13:41-43 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Application: So, when we are praying “Your kingdom come,” we are praying for Jesus to come in judgment, to manifest His just rule and to bring believers into the Kingdom of their Father.
NKJ Matthew 25:31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world....'”
Application: So, we are praying that God's plan from before the foundation of the world will be accomplished, and we are aligning our hearts with His eternal purpose!

NKJ Acts 14:21-22 “And when they [Paul and Barnabas] had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.'”
Application: We are praying with the understanding that the coming of His Kingdom may bring with it many sufferings. And we are putting His Kingdom before our own comfort.

NKJ 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 55 'O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?'”
Application: So, when we pray “Your kingdom come,” we are praying for our new resurrection bodies and for the last enemy – death – to be conquered.

NKJ 2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
Application: We are praying with confidence that the Lord will preserve us for His Kingdom for His own glory.

NKJ Revelation 5:9-10 “And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.'”

Or, as the ESV and NASB read, “have made a kingdom and priests to our God.”
Application: So, we are praying that people from every people group all over the world will come to know Christ as their Savior and Lord.

NKJ Revelation 12:7-10 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.'”
Application: We are praying for the ultimate defeat of Satan and his minions.

II. The Kingdom Already Come

Let's consider a number of passages which speak of the Kingdom as present:

NKJ Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
Application: So, when we pray “Your kingdom come,” we are praying for repentance, not only for ourselves but for all who hear the Gospel. For it is only through repentance and faith that we experience His Kingdom as already come.

NKJ Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Application: When we sincerely pray, “Your kingdom come,” we are praying from and for a deep sense of humility and utter dependence upon God, not only in ourselves but in all who hear the Gospel.

NKJ Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Application: We are expressing in prayer a commitment to the Kingdom that comes first in our hearts and lives. This is no doubt why Jesus tells us to pray for God's Kingdom to come before we pray for our daily bread! His Kingdom is more important than our lives!

NKJ Matthew 12:28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Application: We are praying that the power of the Kingdom will be manifested through spiritual victory over Satan and his demonic legions now!

NKJ Luke 9:62 “But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'”
Application: Again, when we pray “Your kingdom come” with understanding and sincerity, we are expressing our commitment to the Kingdom – a commitment that demands perseverance (and trusts God for it, as we earlier saw in Paul's example in 2 Timothy 4:18).
NKJ Luke 17:20-21 “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is in your midst.'” (My translation.)
Application: We are praying with the understanding that many will not see His Kingdom because they are constantly looking for the wrong thing and refuse to believe. But we are praying that His Kingdom will come despite such opposition and that many will be enabled to see His Kingdom is even now in their midst.

NKJ Romans 14:17 “...for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Application: So, we are praying for righteousness and peace and joy to be experienced and seen in the Church through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit.

NKJ Colossians 1:13 “[God] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love....”
Application: When we pray “Your kingdom come,” we should be recognizing that it is only by God's power and grace that we have come into His Kingdom, and that many others throughout the world will also experience this power and grace through faith in Christ.

Conclusion: I hope seen in Scripture that to be a Christian is to be a part of God's Kingdom now. It is to having a consuming desire that His Kingdom would advance in this world through the preaching of the Gospel and the salvation of others. And it is to be filled with a longing for the ultimate coming of His Kingdom in the future return of Christ and in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Wrap-around: But is this really true of us as it should be? What is it that we pray for most often? What is it that we communicate through our lives most clearly to others? Can others see through our lives who our King really is? Or would they think that we – like the ancient Israelites who rejected God as their King – want a king like the rest of the world has? That the master we desire is no different from the idols of personal peace and affluence that they themselves worship? Do we say that we want God as our King but live as though we wish He were not? Let us pray that such is not now the case and that it never will be the case! Let us pray passionately, “Your kingdom come!”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Reformed Baptist View of Baptism

Stan Reeves, an elder at Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, Alabama, has written a helpful paper entitled FAQ on the Reformed Baptist View of Baptism. He offers brief, clear answers to a number of common questions about how we understand baptism according to Scripture. Here is the list of commonly asked questions for which he seeks to provide answers:
1. What books present the Reformed Baptist view of baptism?

2. What readily available short works present the Reformed Baptist view of baptism?

3. Considering that Old Testament believers were commanded to place the sign of the covenant upon their infant children, why do we not have clear explanations in the New Testament that this pattern of infant inclusion has been abrogated?

4. Doesn't Acts 2:39 indicate a continuation of the principle of including children under the new covenant?

5. Does the Reformed Baptist view prevent us from embracing God's promise to be a God to our children?

6. Is the sacrament of baptism a means of grace according to Reformed Baptist theology?

7. How can baptism be a means of grace in Baptist theology when Baptists assert that a person must already be saved to be eligible for baptism?

8. Doesn't I Cor. 7:14 teach that children of believers are covenantally set apart and thus eligible for baptism?
If you have ever had some of these same questions, you may want to check out Stan's paper here.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Free Audio Download of J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism

ReformedAudio.org is offering a free audio download of J. Gresham Machen's important, classic work Christianity and Liberalism. You have the option of either listening online or downloading the file for each chapter to your computer.

You may also want to check out other free downloads from the site, which include selections from such works as John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, Jeremiah Burroughs' The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, J. C. Ryle's The Duties of Christian Parents, and John Frame's The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

e-Sword Updated From 9.6 to 9.7

e-Sword, what I recommend as the best free Bible study software program, has been updated from version 9.6 to version 9.7. Here is the description of the update from the e-Sword website:
The editors have been broken out into their own view and are no longer located in the Commentary view. Also, a new Journal Notes editor has been added to the Editor view to join the Study Notes and Topic Notes!

You can now Search the Bibles and other modules using Regular Expressions (REGEX). While a bit complicated for typical use, this functionality adds powerful searching capabilities when that might be needed.

Inline notes and cross-references are now possible in Bible modules. The NASB Study Set has been updated to take advantage of this new functionality.
If you haven't already tried e-Sword, I suggest you check it out.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Jesus' Model Prayer: The First Petition

In this post I am continuing a series on the Lord's Prayer. What follows are my teaching notes on the text in Matthew. I hope the blog's readers will find it helpful.

Introduction: Quote: William Shakespeare once wrote:

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
("Othello", Act 3 scene 3).
Shakespeare hit upon something that is regarded as virtually universally true, namely that a person's name and his reputation are intertwined. What one thinks when he hears or uses a man's name, he thinks of the man himself. This is true also of God, and this is why Jesus teaches us to pray:

NKJ Matthew 6:9b "Hallowed be Your name."

In attempting to better understand this petition, we will seek to answer two questions: 1) What does it mean to hallow His name? and 2) Who do we pray shall hallow His name?

I. What Does it Mean to Hallow His Name?

[1] Hallowed be – Greek hagiázō = “make holy, consecrate, sanctify; (1) of things set apart for sacred purposes consecrate, dedicate (MT 23.19); (2) of God's name treat as holy, revere (MT6.9)” (Friberg Greek Lexicon #212, BibleWorks).

So, the point isn't that we make God's name holy, but that we revere it as holy, that we acknowledge it as the holy name that it already is. His name is holy because He is holy, and we properly acknowledge His holiness when we desire every day to see His name acknowledged as holy. so then, this is just another way of saying that we should acknowledge Him for who He really is. When we want to see God's name honored and sanctified before others, it is because we want Him to be so honored. This is why the Apostle Peter tells us that we need to be ready to give a defense for our faith in God:

NKJ 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear....” (Italics mine.)
To sanctify God in our hearts is simply to recognize who He truly is as a holy and sovereign God and to honor Him as such in our hearts. For, if we do not honor Him this way in our hearts, we will never do so before others. This is assumed by Peter, and it is something that even the most mature and godly believers can sometimes fail to do. Consider, for example, the case of Moses when the people of Israel complained that they had no water:

NKJ Numbers 20:7-12 “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 8 'Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.' 9 So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, 'Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?' 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.'” (Italics mine.)
I submit to you that if Moses could fail to hallow God before the people of Israel, then we too can fail to hallow God before others! No wonder Jesus wants our first petition – our first thought in prayer – to be that God's name be hallowed. He knows that we need to make this the focus of our hearts first thing every day. And He knows that we are not ready to call out to God in prayer unless this is our primary aim.

[2] Your name – In this context the only way Jesus has told us to address God is as “our Father” (vs.9a), so we can assume that we definitely want Him to be hallowed as such. But when God's name – or one of His many names – is referred to in Scripture, it is a way of revealing something about who He is. For example:

1) NKJ Exodus 3:14 “And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”'”

Here God tells Moses the meaning of His proper name, Yahweh, although there are a number of other names by which He also revealed Himself. This name reveals that He is the self-existent One. He is thus sovereign creator of all else that exists. So, when we pray that His name will be hallowed, we are praying that He will be acknowledged as such.

2) NKJ Exodus 33:19 “Then He said, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'”

God's name identifies Him as the gracious and compassionate One. So, again, when we pray that His name will be hallowed, we are praying that He will be acknowledged as such.

3) NKJ Exodus 34:14 “...for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God....”

God's name reveals that He will not share His glory with another and that He is justly angered when we give to another the honor and worship that is due to Him alone. When we pray that His name will be hallowed, then, we are praying that He will be worshiped as the only true God, aren't we?
Quote: John Stott has done a good job of summarizing the matter (The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p.147):

The name of God is not a combination of the letters G, O, and D. The name stands for the person who bears it, for his character and activity. So God's 'name' is God himself as he is in himself and has revealed himself. His name is already 'holy' in that it is separate from and exalted over every other name. But we pray that it might be hallowed, 'treated as holy', because we ardently desire that due honour may be given to it, that is to him whose name it is, in our own lives, in the church and in the world.
Quote: Chip Bell has also given a good, brief explanation of Jesus' meaning here (“The Paternoster - A Model Prayer Matthew 6:9-15,” Bible.org):

When we speak of God’s name, what we really mean is God himself. So this first request is a longing to see God treated as special, to see him recognized as God and treated as only God deserves to be treated.

There are two separate aspects to this request: one in the present and one in the future. There will be a time when God is finally treated as holy by all of creation. That’s way in the future. Partly this prayer is longing for that day to come when everyone in the world recognizes and honors God. But there is also a present aspect. This is a prayer that right now, among us, more and more people would recognize who God is and begin to treat him the way only God deserves to be treated.
This leads us to our next question ….

II. Who Do We Pray Shall Hallow His Name?

Notice that when Jesus teaches us to pray, “hallowed be Your name,” He does not restrict this in any way. For example, He does not limit the request to “hallowed be your name in me,” or “hallowed be Your name in the Church.”

In addition to the general nature of the petition, the following petitions also indicate that we are to desire that God's name be hallowed by all people everywhere, for Jesus says immediately following this that we should pray that His kingdom would come and His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).

I would suggest to you that we simply cannot desire that God's name be hallowed in our own lives without wanting this to be true of everyone else as well. How, after all, can we sincerely desire that God be honored and yet not be bothered at all that so many dishonor Him!?

Let's consider some Scriptural examples that demonstrate what hallowing God's name looks like. We will focus our attention upon the Psalms. As we do so, we will see how the people of God associated worshiping Him with praising and honoring His name. These examples will also demonstrate not only a desire that God be hallowed in the life of the individual believer, but also in the lives of others and throughout the earth:

NKJ Psalm 7:17 “I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”

NKJ Psalm 18:49 “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles [nations], and sing praises to Your name.”

NKJ Psalm 22:22 “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”

NKJ Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.”

NKJ Psalm 25:11 “For Your name's sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.”

NKJ Psalm 31:3 “For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me.”

NKJ Psalm 63:3-5 “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.”

NKJ Psalm 66:1-2 “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 2 Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.”

NKJ Psalm 72:18-19 “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things! 19 And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.”

NKJ Psalm 79:9 “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name's sake!”

NKJ Psalm 80:17-19 “Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. 18 Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name. 19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!”
We should also remember that Jesus Himself demonstrated a consuming desire that the Father's name be glorified:

NKJ John 12:27-28 “'Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save Me from this hour”? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, 'I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.'”
Conclusion: Many examples could be given, but I hope we have all seen that Jesus is not really teaching a new concept. He is teaching us to pray as all true believers have always prayed. And He expects us to have the same desire for God's glory that all true believers have always had. Indeed, he wants us to have the same all-consuming desire that He has for the Lord's name to be hallowed among the nations.

Application Question: Does this desire express itself in your prayer life? Does a desire for His glory eclipse all other desires so that it is the first petition of your prayers? If not, then you should definitely begin to follow Jesus' direction for payer in this passage.